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The Cycle

News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.

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01:00:00

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ac3

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1080

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Us 18, America 6, Mason 4, Unitedhealthcare 4, Washington 4, Hagel 4, Eleanor Roosevelt 3, Max 3, Afghanistan 3, Kenya 3, S.e. 3, Virginia 3, Somalia 3, Campbell 2, Chris Christie 2, Burstein 2, Tyco Integrated Security 2, Geico 2, Pentagon 2, United States 2,
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  MSNBC    The Cycle    News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports  
   and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.  

    February 26, 2013
    12:00 - 1:00pm PST  

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one a day men's 50+. i'm s.e. cupp. right now, playing defense. it's decision day for the president. his pick to lead the pentagon. i'm going to talk about that in a bit. i'm toure in east lansing, michigan. a new salvo today in the civil war. republicans signing on in support of gay marriage. welcome to the modern world, you guys. speaking of battles. didn't think you'd escape an hour without the sequester fight. yep, the koubd clock is officially ticking. >> you want to go here again, s.e.? >> you go. nancy pelosi called it a drive-by congress and speeding america toward another fiscal cliff. >> me again? all that and first lady exercising political muscle. get it? because she wants us to get fit!
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groundhog day february 2nd. will have an early spring. if you're wondering. but today is groundhog day in washington, at least that's how leon panetta describes the succession of getting his successor confirmed. con fired cleared a test vote today. same vote he failed two weeks ago. the next vote could come next hour. panetta had two farewell parties and waiting out the last hours of the tenure at the walnut farm in california. hagel, meanwhile, already working out of the pentagon for weeks preparing for the transition and first battle will be a budget war. the dod is faced with cuts even in the next seven months alone of $43 billion.
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cuts to training, grounded planes, docked warships. all things the president referred to today at a shipyard. >> main reason i'm here is to call attention to the important work you're doing on behalf of the nation's defense and to let the american people know that this work along with hundreds of thousands of jobs are currently in jeopardy because of politics in washington. these cuts are wrong. they're not smart. they're not fair. >> michael hersh is chief correspondent at "the national journal." so let's start there. there's this notion that if he's confirmed and i think we all expect that he will be that he'll enter defense in some kind of a weakened position after not so great confirmation hearing and then this really okay ro moan you battle over the
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confirmation. what kind of tangible consequences will that have? how will the job as defense secretary be more difficult because he had a tough run? >> well, because of the first thing to do is run in to the sequester wall. literally, within about 48 hours of being confirmed and we do expect that he certainly will be confirmed, and that means he's going to have to go back to congress kind of hat in hand and ask for the legislative authority to move money around so the impact of the sequestrati sequestration, $46 billion or so will not be as devastating as panetta and the joint chiefs have been saying. >> michael, i'm trying to think of the lessons to draw from this pra pro tracted nomination fight with the republicans, a number of them still voting for the filibuster today and broken and probably expecting 40 will vote no on the nomination, a lot has been made about maybe this is republicans upset how he kind of
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left the conservative reservation on iraq, voicing opposition to the surge in 2007. 2006, 2007. it strikes me republicans had no problem confirming john kerry and turned on the war and against the surge and is the real lesson of when you abandon a political party as chuck hagel did with the republicans and a lesson of payback in politics? >> i think it is. you know, it's loyalty. it's breaking the omerita. it's a guy who was a ten years ago considered even a leading candidate for the republican presidential nomination and went against his own president and party and even worse than that was actually right, i think, about what he said. in other words, one of the big ironies now and seeing now with the debate over hagel is if you look at the things he was saying in 2002 and 2003, a lot of it
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was about avoiding excess cost. the excess costs of a war that he said was unnecessary, namely iraq. here's a guy that's savvy about what he's called a bloated pentagon budget coming in at a time when the pentagon budget has to be cut so it's interesting to see whether, you know, down the line after all of this bad blood he gets credit for that. >> michael, i loved the end of your article in "the national journal." you write in washington one is forgiven many things. being right is another matter. for too many lawmakers, it would be too uncomfortable to have hagel restored to power, a living nagging reminder of how much they got wrong. you're talking about, of course, he got iraq right. so many others got iraq wrong and also that you can survive apostacy, right? >> well, yeah. exactly. it's very difficult to do. the republican party is built on loyalty. all of washington is to a
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certain extent but again i think the point here is not that hagel simply came out against the party, it was what he was saying, the way he was saying it. in complete contrast to the confirmation hearing and where, you know, to an extent none of us quite understood, he decided to play the baffled and befuddled nominee, perhaps because he hadn't been on the other side of that line of desks. he actually said a lot of really intelligent things in the run-up to the war in iraq and talked about the diversion away from afghanistan which has we have now seen had enormous consequences in terms of u.s. resources, blood and treasure, intelligence, predators that we took away from the effort in afghanistan. so, i actually think if you look at hagel's record, setting aside the confirmation hearing, the guy's pretty on target. >> part of the problem is although there was reservations about iraq he did end up voting for that war and then oppose the
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surge which is broadly been seen as having been successful and sort of in the end got it wrong on both counts but turning to the sequester as we mentioned the top of the show, the president is in virginia today and hampton rhodes at a shipyard and interesting the political dynamic playing out there locally in virginia. a trio of virginia representatives that represent that hampton rhodes region have been very against the sequester, really trying to figure out to avoid the cuts recognizing how damaging it will be to their regions and district. are we going to see more of that as more members of congress and republican members in particular recognize how much these cuts will impact their district specifically? >> yeah. i mean, i think the districts, republican or democrat, where you have a lot of defense employees, particularly civilian defense employees, i mean, are going to be extremely sensitive to this. you have the threat of some, you
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know, 800,000 defense employees who might be forced to go on unpaid furlough for part of the next seven months if the sequester goes through an almost certainly looks like it will. meanwhile, the insurance programs compromised, as well. that's a lot of voters. >> michael, a broad question on the sequester. looks like the president made two calculations here. one, that republicans would cave because defense has been such a sacred cow in the past. and two, if that didn't happen, that they'd cave to public pressure and that the politics of this would be too damaging. was he wrong? it seems as though he might have made a miscalculation. >> it certainly seems that way. i think one of the things at the turn of the year extending the sequester deadline by two months was that the amount of defense budget cuts went down from 55 billion to about 42, 43, 44. and i think that sort of
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lessened the impact in the eyes of many republicans. this is about not having too severe defense cuts because that's really a strong point for republicans. so, i think that they've just calculated and particularly pushed by the tea party, look, here we're getting all cuts and no revenue increases or additional taxes. we'll take it. >> michael, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. today republicans wrestling with two major issues for the future of the party and showing they may be more divided than ever before on one in particular. gay rights. we're spinning as "the cycle" rolls on for tuesday, february 26th. max and penny kept our bookstore exciting and would always come to my rescue. but as time passed, i started to notice max just wasn't himself. and i knew he'd feel better if he lost a little weight. so i switched to purina cat chow healthy weight formula.
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in just a few minutes, the president is set to meet with senators john mccain and lindsay graham to discuss immigration reform. it's a topic that republicans have been forced to revisit as the hispanic voting bloc grows larger and larger. we'll keep an eye on what comes out of what meeting. meantime, marriage equality. make no mistake about it, this is a party divided. "the new york times" reporting this morning on prominent republicans and four former governors who have signed on to a legal brief arguing gay people have a constitutional right to marry. that brief will be submitted to the supreme court this week in support of a lawsuit to overturn california's controversial prop 8. at the same time today, we learned two groups representing gay republicans will not be in the room of next month's annual gathering of conservatives known as cpac.
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two conflicting messages that lead us to the "spin cycle." guys, you know, i go to cpac every year. i love speaking there. it's a great way for conservatives young and old to get together and sort of touch base, get to know the young people coming in to the movement and sort of sort issues out. but this is i think a real mistake. first of all, i've worked with go proud and log cabin republicans for a while. these are some of the hardest working conservatives in the business. these are people who have struggled to reconcile their private lives with their political lives and how they make sense of that. they have had to work harder than many of us in the movement to sort of come out, represent their conservative ideals which for the most part, you know, discuss fiscal policies and fiscal issues and still stand up and be proud conservatives and we're essentially telling them, we're a little ashamed of you. we'd like you to come but don't be too loud about it.
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you know, go do this in the back room. i don't think that's right. and, you know, this sort of around the edges conversation about cpac saying, no, no, no. they can come. they just can't sponsor feels like a bit of a cop-out. we should be lucky to be having these guys do any work for us. >> yeah. >> instead of turning them away. i don't think we can afford that right now. >> you can come but stay in the closet. right? >> right. >> don't be too loud. >> exactly what it sounds like. >> don't be out there. quietly come and don't be too gay while you're there. >> be less gay. >> another interesting thing, cpac also did not invite chris christie which, you know, he's the most popular republican figure probably in america right now. and they're saying we don't want you. we don't think you have anything to say to help the party. it's really, really backwards thinking. if they want genuinely to move the party forward, so they basically said, chris christie,
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no. mitt romney, yes. which is not a productive place to be right now. and going back to the issue of keeping out go proud and log cabin republicans, 64% of millennials support gay marriage. it is overwhelmingly supported by young people and if the republican party wants to be seen as a modern party, they have to get rid of some of these views that look like they look straight out of the 1950s and what young person supports a party that out of the mainstream. >> i give the party credit here because there's a splintering and change happening fast. cpac, notwithstanding. wpac is quickly becoming the outlier here. there's plenty of social conservatives in the party resistant to gay marriage for a long time and the supreme court brief signed by dozens of prominent republicans, meg whitman on the list, former bush
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administration officials, three of the four former governors of massachusetts -- mitt romney. >> the one going to cpac. >> slipped through on that. yeah, i have -- we have to say, too, i think that this is -- this is something that's changed quickly and is changing quickly in both political parties. in 2004, when this issue landed on the national stage and the first really polling i saw on it back then 30% for gay marriage and now overwhelming majority support talking about a younger generation and that even applies starting to poll evangelicals who you think of the most opposed to gay marriage. there's significant support. it's faster on the democratic side but the wake of november, it's starting to happen on the republican side. >> it's easy to forget that the president just came out in support of gay marriage less than a year ago. >> you're absolutely right.
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here's the battle for the war of the soul of the gop. it's happening not only in terms of gay marriage but also in terms of immigration. and part of the problem is that the gop for so long has been using the sort of boogieman to rally the wagons in terms of gay americans, immigrants and blacks, as well, and hard to get off of that heroine that worked for them in the '80s. not so much since then. i suspect no matter what they say, this is a pretty strong, amazing year for gay rights. i see this amicus brief to help with the scotus battle and prop 8 and doma and as you sort of touched upon a little bit, bloomberg reports today that the president is thinking about making gay marriage a constitutional right and an extraordinary step. one way or another this battle's going to come down on the right side of the history. this is the last du jour segregation we have in america
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and it's time it fell and it's about to happen. >> well, the last thing i'm going to say about this, guys, is i have been thinking about this a lot and i know a lot of people on my side of the aisle have been struggling with this for sometime now, too. i've been scheduled to speak at cpac and i don't think i can until this issue is reconciled and figure it out. up next, the rising cost of food and america's kids paying the price. >> my dream is to go to college but i can't say i'll make sure you eat in to years. i'm struggling to feed my kids every day. >> put that in there. it gives u what you are looking for to live a more natural life. in a convenient two bar pack. this is nature valley. nature at its most delicious.
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the assistance programs in the united states are very hard to qualify for. it's like either you're starving or you don't get any help. what defines starving? like, you if you don't eat for a
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day, are you starving? in their eyes, no. but in the way you feel, of course. >> philadelphia single mother barb barbie, it's a constant struggle to feed her two children. she fed never to eat them canned spaghetti three days a day like she had growing up but sometimes that is the best she can do. she is not alone. 50 million people in this country are food insure, they don't know where the next meal will come from and if the automatic budget cuts take effect on friday, that number is set to skyrocket. over half a million women and children with stories like barbie's will be dropped from the nutrition program known as wic and dropped at least half a year. next guest's new documentary puts faces on the problem of hunger in america and they say it's a problem the country has solved before and we can solve again. if average americans demand it. with us now are codirectors, a
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place at the table premiers in theaters this friday. thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having us. >> laurie, there was another clip of the film that grabbed me and illustrating how difficult it is to live on what's commonly known as food stamps. let's take a look at that. >> most of my colleagues had no idea that the average food stamp benefit is $3 a day. i had a budget and went to a supermarket. took a long time. because you have to add up every penny and has to last you for a week. and so i did it and i will tell you i was tired. i was cranky. i couldn't drink coffee. it's too expensive. there are people who are living on that food stamp aloe case and you really can't. for us, it was an exercise that ended in a week. for millions of other people in this country, that's their way of life. every day is a struggle just to
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eat. >> i mean, $3 a day. you are not buying fresh fruits and vegetables. you are not buying high quality foods and so we see a link between food insecurity and obesit obesity. what sort of programs, what can we do to break that? >> for one thing, we can take a look at the programs that work right now. there's quite a few of them but many of them as you pointed out in danger of being severely impacted by sequestration. under constant attack. these programs work. we need to fund them adequately and a matter of the highest priority but for the ethics of it and the nation's well being, our economic wellbeing and national security. >> christie, we have a statistic about 50 million who are food insecure and, you know, i can remember in a very inflammatory way in the presidential campaign newt gingrich bringing up the
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acceleration of people on food stamps over four years. what's part of the dismal economy and the lack of recovery? >> well, i think that the recent -- the recent crash and recession certainly has increased the roles of people who are relying on either food stamps or food banks to feed themselves. but frankly, it's really just drawn attention to a problem that's existed for decades and on the rise since the '80s and, you know, in the '70s we actually solved the problem through adequate funding of programs and modernizing the programs so it's really highlighting a problem that's existed for sometime. >> quickly to follow up -- i'm sorry, toure. just curious, if we talk about $3 a day right now for food stamps, we had more generous benefits in the '70s. what were we paying snout. >> it was a lot of programs for
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working in concert with one another and adequately funded to make sure that people didn't slip in to treacherous hunger terrain so i don't know the dollar amount was in the '70s but i can tell you that the food stamps lasted for a month. right now the people we have met around the country receiving snap benefits tell you two, maybe three weeks if they're lucky and then scrambling and people food insecure in the country are spending their day and their energy and their time looking for food and scrounging for food. that's time they're not working or if the case is looking for work, that's time they're not parenting. time they're not devouting to communities, churches, synagogues. it is a horrific waste of human potential to send 50 million people on a daily search for food. >> no, i think that's absolutely right. sounds like people in a third world country or perhaps the way this animals live. i hate to say that but that's the way that animals live and
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the clip made my think about trying to live on food stamps for a week and how emotionally changed he was by it, how agitated he was by it. and it makes me think about the emotional impact that it has on people to live this way every day and perhaps contributing the violence we see in the communities and the anti-society in the communities. >> the emotional anxiety around not being able to feed yourself and in particular feeding your family is very serious and certainly has lifelong consequences. we have filmed with many people who shared with us the feelings of shame that are associated with the experience of hunger and food insecurity. and i think that is something that we need to work towards addressing. >> well, viewers of a place at the table will see famous faces. let's take a look. >> as thinking adults, fellow
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parents, this an abdication of our responsibility toward kids. let's fund programs that work the raises and variety of schools can afford. >> charity's a great thing but it's not way to end hunger. we don't fund our department of defense through charity. you know? we shouldn't, you know, see that our kids are healthy through charity, either. this is something that in our country and america, the richest country in the world, we should take care of our kids. >> of course, that was tom and jeff bridges and laurie, i mean, everyone from those gentlemen to michelle obama and michael bloomberg shining a light on childhood obesity and an added benefit of having famous voices attached to the cause helped shine the light on it anymore? >> i think the jury's out and we have famous faces in the film and coming out soon and we hope
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it brings people to the theater and if that's what it takes, great. famous people and celebrities, great chefs in the nation working really hard on this issue. but they've been working to get people to increase the charitable response and the truth is that charity, even increasing it by tenfold could not take on the problem and fix it. if we're feeding people, they're still hungry the next day and the next day until we look at the system and how it's broken and fix that. >> if there's one thing that people could really take away from that film, if there's one thing to impress upon the country out of this film, what would it be? >> i would say if there's one thing to take away is citizen activism works. we saw the results of what happened in the late 1960s, in particular around this issue. which is solvable. and, you know, i think that certainly in this environment today we're sort of, you know, led to believe that we don't have a voice and we can't make a difference. and on this issue, we can.
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and if we make our voices heard and let our politicians know, that hunger in this country is not acceptable, and get involved through our campaign, which is associated with this film, at take part.com/table you can get involved and be a part of ending hunger in america. >> takepart.com/table. thank you so much for that input, that optimistic message and good luck with the film. >> thank you. >> thank you for having us. speaking of michelle obama, we have seen her leading the charge for healthy habits. have we seen too much of her possible? that's not possible. we'll back spin on it next. at optionsxpress we're all about options trading.
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it's fun and delicious, too. >> on the third anniversary of her let's move campaign, first lady obama seems to be everywhere lately touted its success. it's not big bird she's palling around with. there's jimmy fallon and oscar. >> and the oscar goes to -- "argo." this is my mid life crisis. the bangs. ♪ >> the first lady is everywhere these days. let's back spin on it. to see her as a radiant ambassador who's more beloved than any political figure than bill clinton is extraordinary and i think back to how far she's come from that moment in the 2008 campaign when she
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risked really being sort of destructive and divisive and talked to her heart about being proud of the country for the first time. i fully understood what she meant. i think most black people fully understood what she meant and a significant number of white people that did not understand and perhaps were offended and took conscious steps to change from that moment and consciously did not want to be harming her husband's political future. so she wanted to make sure that didn't happen again and pursued an agenda with nothing to do with nothing like that and politically start in and perhaps not where her heart may really lie but the land mines that can happen, you speak openly, you can fall in to that when you speak really honestly about race. >> well, i think, you know, looking back, i think michelle obama certainly seems to be taking on a more prominent role and i don't know that's new, really. hard to remember with hillary
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outspoken in both terms and, you know, you had that moment in president obama's campaign where michelle obama was outspoken but really, i mean, she kind of played it quiet in the first term, coming out again in the second. exactly what laura bush did. in the second term, she was a lot more visible. traveled overseas more to promote her causes. literacy and aids awareness. africa five times. she weighed in publicly, for example, on the terri schiavo case and the fashion evolved. i remember some very long form pieces coming out about her evolving fashion sense. so i think michelle obama's probably playing by the same kind of first lady rule book. >> it's interesting when you think about the role of first lady and what they want to make of it and a curious arrangement in this country where the head of government is also the head of state and other countries thinking of britain, you have the head of government and the
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prime minister and you have also a royal family and so when you have the like national cultural events in britain, you can call on the nonpolitical royal family, the king or queen or prince or duchess of plymouth or whatever they're called and put an official stamp. >> the late night shows? >> thinking of the oscars. we had the oscars. how many tens of millions of people are watching this and picked up some grumbling from the right should michelle obama have been there and politicalizing the oscars and made me think of january of 1985. >> of course it did. >> instantly. >> ronald reagan's second term and a major national cultural event called the super bowl and look what happened at the super bowl. >> i have heard of it. >> mr. president, will you please toss the coin? >> it is tails.
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>> so there you go. the dolphins lost the coin toss. reagan didn't have to run in florida again so all was okay. business there grumbling from democrats? there was for all i know and an imperfect balance between the head of state and active in politics. to me it's like, whatever. that's the nature of it. michelle obama at the oscars is fine. ronald reagan at the super bowl is fine and then president dukakis at oscars is fine with me, too. >> living the dream. i'm shocked you do not remember the newspaper headlines from that day in 1985 but it's all right. >> scored the game. >> of course you do. well and i would say, too, i mean with the whole controversy such as it is about the first lady at the oscars, i don't think any normal and by normal person i mean nonpartisan who doesn't already have a strong opinion about the first lady is really concerned about this or
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thinking about this. i think most people thought it was nice or didn't really think about it that much and moved on with their lives now and first ladies throughout history have really made that role in to whatever they have wanted it to be. eleanor roosevelt probably still the most outspoken fairslydy. she had press conferences. penned a column. she had different views than her husband and was outspoken about them. and interestingly, when hillary clinton was first lady, and she was getting a lot of heat for being out front on policy issues under her husband's administration, she would imagine discussing the things with eleanor roosevelt and getting advice of eleanor roosevelt. i think they have latitude to do with the office what they will and i think they feel like this first lady really done a great job highlighting issues not partisan and need to be addressed in the country. >> yeah.
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funny how you never hear o outspoken applied to men. one third grader taking the first lady's let's move campaign. iowa's mason and third grade basketball team tied up at the buzzer in overtime and mason sunk a half court buzzer beater driving them to third grade victory. number 12 celebrating with the teammates. nice job. our facebook fans are helping the video go viral and weighing in on what the lessons the pros can learn from mason. dick wolf says it's simple. never give up. amen, dick. like us on facebook. tell us what you think about little mason and if there's viral videos we should be watching. up next, tackling the most pressing international issues of the day with a man who's lived to tell the tale. now alex berrinson is using tei journalism to expose the truth.
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how did i know? well, i didn't really. see, i figured low testosterone would decrease my sex drive... but when i started losing energy and became moody... that's when i had an honest conversation with my doctor. we discussed all the symptoms... then he gave me some blood tests. showed it was low t. that's it. it was a number -- not just me. [ male announcer ] today, men with low t have androgel 1.62% (testosterone gel). the #1 prescribed topical testosterone replacement therapy, increases testosterone when used daily. women and children should avoid contact with application sites. discontinue androgel and call your doctor if you see unexpected signs of early puberty in a child, or signs in a woman, which may include changes in body hair or a large increase in acne, possibly due to accidental exposure. men with breast cancer or who have or might have prostate cancer, and women who are or may become pregnant or are breastfeeding, should not use androgel.
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serious side effects include worsening of an enlarged prostate, possible increased risk of prostate cancer, lower sperm count, swelling of ankles, feet, or body, enlarged or painful breasts, problems breathing during sleep, and blood clots in the legs. tell your doctor about your medical conditions and medications, especially insulin, corticosteroids, or medicines to decrease blood clotting. so...what do men do when a number's too low? turn it up! [ male announcer ] in a clinical study, over 80% of treated men had their t levels restored to normal. talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. get the blood tests. change your number. turn it up. androgel 1.62%. our next guest seen the front lines of iraq's civil war, walked the slums of cairo and lived among exiles and now the former "the new york times" reporter is using the
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experiences to write thriller novels. his main character is a former cia agent who keeps getting pulled back in to serve his country, this time by an abduction near the somali border. joining us now in the guest spot is alex berenson and author of "the night rangers." interesting because you combine the skills of a novelist and reporter and have a mastery of the culture of the areas you're writing and writing a new book of a somali refugee camp on the kenyan side and travelled to the region. when we hear about somalia in the united states we think of pirates, people held hostage for ransom, when's life like right now over there? >> i have to be honest. i did not go to somalia for the research. i went to kenya and i went to a
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giant refugee camp and i was going to go to mogadishu. i had a trip scheduled with a guy who's a very experienced somali hand and it's better if i go alone on this one and i had brought the flack jacket and it stayed in the hotel an i did not cross in -- >> that tells you something of what it's like over there if it wasn't safe enough for you to get in there. >> in the last six months it's gotten a fair amount safer. it takes a bit to write it and somalia is better but kenya's a fascinating place and a wonderful country from a lot of ways but it has serious political problems and the giant refugee camps are a very interesting place that the kenyans i think would like to shut down and really can't. >> alex, in the travels and correct me if i'm mischaracterizing your views but you found you don't think foreign aid really works so if it doesn't work, is it just the
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way the we're doing it or could be done better or an alternative to pursue? >> i would not say it never works and i think that the motives of a lot of people who are involved in foreign aid are very good and i don't mean to denigrate them at all but i do think if you look at africa in last 50 years there's trillions of dollars in foreign aid and very, very little economic growth and if you look at the country that's really the greatest success story in the history of the world in terms of pulling people out of poverty it's china. china in the last generation, hundreds of millions of people in the middle class and the foreign aid community has to look at that and ask themselves what they could be doing differently and i think it can work but these giant programs often are not what works and certainly when you start displacing local entrepreneurs and telling local people, we can do this for you better than you can do it for yourself, you set up a culture of dependency and then you snuff out people who are coming up with local
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solutions to local problems and not really what "the night ranger" is about and it's a thriller but there is that world view, my view of this informs this and i'm not afraid to say that. >> it's my experience in meeting with refugees that foreign aid, a small percentage of donations of foreign aid actually get to the people that need it. i've seen that a lot sold on the black market. >> yes. >> a lot gets redirected to corrupt governments and even if the intentions are good and the ngo delivering the foreign aid is not corrupt it still has a hard time of getting the people it's supposed to get to. >> absolutely. you have the regions of conflict where the aid winds up feeding the conflict. literally feeding the conflict. >> right. >> because you go with 10 tons of food and 5 ton to the rebel group for fighters or sell it on the black market as you say. >> i just, i'm very interested
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in this refugee issue, especially with syria on my mind. but i want to find out a little bit more about the novel. why did you decide to go with fiction when telling stories that are pretty good on their own? >> well, i think a lot of journalists would love to be novelists. one reason is that as a journalist, you always get lied to by the sources and my sources never lie to me. they may lie to each other. >> they tell you everything. >> exactly. or themselves. but they never lie to me. >> that's great. >> it is a great lifestyle to be a novelist. and but there's something else which is that like when we think, you know, now or in 50 years from now who defined the cold war for us, more than any reporter i think it's the man who told us what the cold war was about an i'm not saying i'm john luke array but it's the goal and to write something that rises beyond the daily facts for a bigger view. >> yeah. >> alex, i have written some
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novels and it is not the easiest lifestyle in the world but kudos to lifestyle in the world. i have greated admiration for y going into kenya. what i want to hear is what is the hairiest story that you have from your time sort of parachuting in these far flung places and trying to get the real story? >> well, there's a story that i don't really tell about something that happened to me in iraq. so i'm not going to tell that story. >> that's the one i want. >> that is when i was a reporter for "the times." >> can i check with one of our sources? >> tell me that story. >> but a couple years ago i was in afghanistan. i was embedded with u.s. troops there researching the book before the night ranger called requesting the shadow patrol." we were just on patrol and it was one of these ied clearing patrols, and lo and behold, like about ten of us had walked essentially by this little thing that was in the ground.
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none of us noticed. somebody is like, wait a minute, that is a buried ied. we have to get the clearing guys out of here -- we have to get the clearing guys here to clear this thing out. and, you know, so they do, it takes a long time, they lay the charge, finally they blow it and sometimes it's nothing. it's like a little piece of trash on the ground. in this case it was an ied. so we were all just lucky. but that was a close call. but, you know, honestly, that happens to those guys every day. >> wow. >> when you said part of wanting to write the novel is you want to entertain people but you also want to give them sort of a bigger picture. so what is that bigger picture in this novel? >> the bigger picture -- one, it's about whether aid does any good. but the other big point of this novel, and it's actually very timely is about drones. i think drones is an important part of why the united states have not been attacked. you have to give them credit.
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but we have grown to rely on them too much and there's frontally not been enough publish discussion about how we use these drones. i'm glad to see even if it's for political purposes, i'm glad to see the republicans are pushing on this a little bit because i think it's a discussion that we need to have. >> bringing the drone conversation to a broader audience. >> yes, yes. >> all right. alex, this guy writes a novel a year. i would be happy if i could write a novel in lifetime. it might be a choose your own adventure one. thanks so much for joining us. up next, s.e. with a wake-up call for millennials and the rest of us. i've always kept my eye on her... but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack.
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as an unmarried small business owner in new york city who does not own a home, i'm taxed at one of the highest rates in the country. forfeiting upwards of 50% of my income to local, state, and federal government every year. i'm sure this e lice sits few tears of sympathy, that's okay, but for many young millennials who have dreams of moving to the big city, starting their own business and one day owning their own home, this should be something of a wake-up call. david burstein's new book is a must read for anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 looking to survive in an economy that is in many ways unable to keep up with you and for anyone interested in shaping policy with 80 million people in mind.
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millennials are the largest generation in the united states history and by 2020 they will account for 1 out of every 3 adults. we interviewedb burstein last week. what he said about millennials was fascinating. this is a generation that came of age in the midst of permanent war, a housing boom and bust, a recession and staggering unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education and most recently a government that seems ill equipped to see to even the simplest of tasks like balancing a budget. in many ways they have been chastened by our mistakes and the mistakes of our parents. they're taking on less debt. renting instead of buying homes they can't afford. they're not buying cars or other big ticket items. they're starting their own businesses, making use of technologies that renter brick and mortar